7 houses in 6 years: Children Need Consistency

Have you ever thought about how children need consistency for healthy growth?

 

Here is a trip down memory lane…

 

children need consistency

 

When my parents first separated, I left the family home I had been raised in for my first 11 years and moved to this townhouse in Derby right before the start of seventh grade.

 

children need consistency

 

The landlady was super nice; she allowed us to bring our cat, Sam, even though she had just installed brand new carpets.  My Dad helped my Mom and I move in. I thought they would get back together. Then my Uncle John came to the door and when I got my Mom for him, he served her with divorce papers. I had seen this Uncle only a handful of times in my life and he was so aggressive and frightening, I fainted. We had to move out the following month because we could not afford to live there.

 

children need consistency

 

This was my grandparents home, where my Mom grew up, and we got to live here for about 8 months before my Grandpa sold it so he could build a retirement home in Florida.

 

children need consistency

 

I spent the eighth grade living in this duplex on Cleveland off of Beach Road in Angola. The upstairs neighbors pounded on the floor if we played the radio or made any noise. The next door neighbors left their cat on a leash, even in the rain and always had a yard sale going on.

 

children need consistency

 

We went to go live with my mom’s boyfriend and his children for most of ninth grade at his house on Church Road. When we lived there, it was a one-story; this is what the house looks like today. This was the first time, of many, that my brother, Philip, crossed the lines and left my dad’s house to come live with us.

 

children need consistency

 

Don’t get too excited. This is not what my tenth grade house looked like when we lived on Summerdale. At all! This was a one story when we lived here that had two kitchens only 25 feet away from each other (awesomely awkward in-law quarters). Our old neighbor eventually ended up buying the house after we moved and knocked it down to build this McMansion, which is on a cliff overlooking the great Lake Erie.

 

children need consistency

 

Come on down to Albeeville, it’s gonna be a JAMBOREE!! Anyone who knew me in eleventh and twelfth grades will not recognize this house because, once again, it looked nothing like this when we lived here. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to grow up in a buttoned up home. I’m excited for the people who live here now.

 

children need consistency

 

The longest amount of time I have lived in one house remains the first eleven years I served on Northfield. Whenever my husband talks about feeling averse to the stress involved in moving homes, I always think about this sequence of events and kind of laugh, bitterly.

 

I don’t care if we move, as long as we all get to stay together as a family.

 

“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anais Nin

 

XO

~Rachel

 

children need consistency

Oh God, I’m Bleeding: Godspell Grieving

Oh god I’m bleeding: Godspell Grieving…

 

When I was in middle school, Lake Shore High School put on the best production of Godspell ever. I have never seen another version. No need.

 

Godspell Grieving

 

I’ve been thinking about that musical A LOT over the past year.

 

Specifically, the part where Jesus is crucified.

 

Oh God I’m Dying…

 

I’ve been singing it to myself for at least a year…

 

I have a story to tell.

 

Godspell Grieving

 

So I made a YouTube video called Godspell & Grieving: Oh God I’m Bleeding.

 

WHY?

 

Because I had to. I had to shut this song up, that’s enough. I’m not dying.

 

I’m grieving.

 

Feels similar, I imagine, if your death were as slow and painful as possible.

 

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In the video I describe toxic relationships using my favorite television series: Arrested Development.

 

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I also act out the 5 stages of grief in a loop 3 times in a row…there is a giant stuffed panda bear involved. Totally normal stuff.

 

Godspell Grieving

 

I know that this story has to be told because it is haunting both my days and my nights. I’m done. If you don’t have 6 minutes to invest then hear me now:

 

–SPOILER ALERT–

 

Set boundaries that honor your personal limits and have the integrity to keep your own promises. This is life. It can be whatever you make it. Make it as kind and loving as possible.

 

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Please let me know what you guys think of my new video and please subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on my next special delivery 😉

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

Eating Grief & Friendship (a love story)

Eating Grief & Friendship (a love story)

 

In my first YouTube video, I mention the health benefits of taking a break from toxic relationships.

 

You can have a healthy relationship with someone as long as they let you have your story. Including your parents, siblings, spouse, friends, etc. If you are not allowed to tell your TRUE story because someone keeps changing it in a way that dismisses or invalidates the very essence of your being, that is a toxic relationship you are free to let go of. You’re welcome.

 

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It’s not easy to let go of or take breaks from relationships. It involves GRIEVING. I’m talking about Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance…in a constant cycle…for the rest of your life. (You’re welcome?).

 

I’ve been spending some time each day multitasking sunshine and reading on my hammock. It’s awesome.

 

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Intuitive Healing is a book that I highly recommend. I’m not that into doctors in general because of my experience with flagrant disregard for emotional health, but this lady seems like the kind of M.D. I could have a doctor/patient relationship with. This book gives me permission to use my INTUITION regarding personal health and wellness (finally!).

 

eating grief

 

Here is an excerpt that I read today from Intuitive Healing:

 

“Here’s a formula for healing everything from anxiety to abuse: Darkness is transmuted into light by love. A practical alchemy. Give yourself latitude in expressing self-love. No rules: just your personal truth in the moment. Suppose you’re depressed. You may decide to enter psychotherapy, take antidepressants, not take antidepressants, go on a meditation retreat, call a time-out with your mother, or build sandcastles on the beach. Follow your intuition. If you’ve lost touch with it—stop. Find someone to help you reconnect. This is fundamental work I do with all my patients. Part of healing is reaching out. If you can’t love yourself (those times may come), you must let others love you until you can. When I’ve sunk the lowest, what has saved me over and over again are the eyes of my friends shining on me.”

 

Recently, I spent some time with my dear friend Liz (the one who taught me about House Plants!), her husband (the one I starred with in my first musical in 4th grade: Christmas on Main Street), and their adorable son, Zev.

 

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It was really special because this was the first time our toddlers had ever met.

 

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They hit it off right away (just like me and Liz and Tim) and are pretty tight now.

 

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Once again, my good friend Liz taught me a bunch of stuff—about wellness, parenting and life. What is resonating with me currently is what Liz taught me about preparing meals:

 

I eat while I cook.

 

What?

 

Yeah, I always do.

 

What??

 

I make a small plate of starters that I nibble on while I prepare dinner, I listen to music and, to be honest with you, I enjoy a glass of red wine. Basically, I make preparing meals as enjoyable as possible for myself.

 

What???

 

She then went outside and fed my husband from her plate of triscuits, hummus and carrots and I could immediately see the frustration in him subside (the charcoal grill was giving him a tough time due to rain and he said he was hungry over an hour ago).

 

eating grief

Liz

Is

Awesome.

 

I mentioned in my PTSD RECOVERY video that it’s hard for me to eat 5 times a day. I wrote a blog about seeing a nutritionist and discovering my eating was disordered. The advice I received from Liz was the most helpful to date: eat while you cook.

 

At first it seemed…wild…excessive…fancy.

 

Then I ate the triscuits and hummus and carrots and it just…seemed…right.

 

I was back on. Engaging. Funny. I realized that I was now winning a battle with a head ache that I did not even know I had been fighting.

 

Liz invited me to partner with her in a weekly comedic podcast similar to one she and her husband enjoy called: uhh yeah dude (but ours will obviously be way better). Liz thinks the world is missing out on how funny and interesting the combination of the two of us always is. I agree. (Liz is smart).

 

Stay tuned for the launch of our podcast. Hopefully we come up with a better name for it than Mrs. Tadpole #1 & Mrs. Tadpole #2 (the names of our characters from my 8th grade musical: Last Chance High).

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

I love my best friend!

My best friend, Kristen, can do anything.

 

Everyone, please say it with me now: Kristen can do anything.

 

I am focusing my supportive energy onto my best friend right now because she is about to do something big: go get her real estate license. Class starts tomorrow. I feel a sense of what my future will be when I proudly send my son to school in a few more years. Literally, I am bursting with pride and it is glorious!

 

Pride?

 

Yeah pride.

 

Do you still have your seventh grade BFF notebook?

 

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I do.

 

Did your best friend join the tense tennis team to hang out with you even though it precluded her from starring on the fun soccer team?

 

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Mine did.

 

That’s why I am not ashamed now (finally) at 32 years old to show this 8th grade Best Buddies yearbook shot:

 

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Hmmm….I am still pretty embarrassed about my circular face and 90’s glasses…but it is kind of funny now. Not as funny as Kristen was in our 9th grade musical:

 

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The hat? Those glasses?!

 

Kristen is SO funny. She is so funny because she is so smart. I love how her mind works. We have always been connected, able to understand and appreciate each other. Kristen’s brother used to remark often about how cool it was that we seemed to speak our own language to each other.

 

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You don’t want to know what we were actually thinking in this 9th grade semi formal picture. Pretend we think we look as beautiful as we actually do look.

 

When I think about Kristen, I always think that she can do anything. The example that usually pops into my head is not the best example of my own capabilities, but I am good at other stuff, so I don’t mind sharing:

 

I got a flat tire. I pulled over. I had just turned 21 and was going to Law School but I didn’t even think about changing the tire. I thought about how my step dad was out of town. I thought about how I have older brothers and no one was available to help me. While I thought about these things, Kristen got out of my car, got into my trunk and started pulling out the spare tire, asking me about a car jack.

 

I just stared at her.

 

Kristen stuck her head back into my trunk and pulled out some sort of lever. Then I watched her in awe as she changed the tire.

 

Because we were both 21, I took her out to celebrate my gratitude. I love her.

 

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Believe it or not, Kristen and I actually set our wedding dates one week apart (Kristen set her wedding date and then much later I sheepishly asked her if she would please travel to my destination wedding exactly one week after her own wedding and she said YES!). So my best friend and I planned our weddings at the same time.

 

We went to dress fittings at David’s Bridal:

 

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We are still working on our dressing room confidence faces.

 

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Kristen got married May 1, 2010 at the Botanical Gardens in Lackawanna, NY.

 

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On May 8, 2010, I got married at Emerald at Queensridge in Las Vegas, NV.

 

I treasure every moment of our wedding planning time together because I relocated to Las Vegas one month after my wedding. At first, it was no big deal.  But then I got pregnant.  And then 3 months later, Kristen got pregnant.

 

I really missed her presence. Kristen can do anything. My pregnancy was REALLY tough. So was hers. I was texting her pictures of me like, look how fat I am:

 

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And she would respond with her own picture of, look how fat I am:

 

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We should’ve been waddling around together!

 

Our babies only met one time when my son was 10 months old and her daughter was 7 months old:

 

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That is not enough. I cannot tell you how much I miss my best friend now that I have been living apart from her for 4 years.

 

Well, I can tell you what I did for my 32nd Birthday last November. That illustrates my point. Suddenly I decided I wanted to go fly to Buffalo and spend my Birthday with my best friend.   We bought plane tickets with less than 7 days before travel.

 

What was on my agenda?

 

Serious professional BFF photo shoot.

 

Yup. Big time. Botanical Garden photo shoot. I contacted the best photographer in WNY, Tanya of Tanya Kurnik images: http://www.imagesbytanyakurnik.com

 

Tanya is so beautiful, I did not even notice she was 8 months pregnant. She certainly made us 2 introverts feel very comfortable having our pictures taken. I think she’s so great.

 

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Remember our 8th grade Best Buddies year book picture?

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These are way better.

 

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Thank you Tanya!

 

So then we ate some chicken wings at Duffs and before I knew it, I was back home in Vegas. Missing Kristen.

 

A few months later I saw this Groupon for like 80% off Canvas on Demand and I went for it. I think you can tell by my face that this is the best $60 I have ever spent:

 

friend

friend

 

If you miss your BFF, I recommend a 16×24 canvas of her professionally photographed face hung in your bedroom and your bathroom. As you can tell by her facial expression, she ALWAYS thinks I am funny no matter what.

 

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friend

 

Kristen: you can do anything. I can’t wait to hear about your first day at school and I really wish I could be there with you, writing you notes in our old 7th grade notebook. I love you and am very grateful for our friendship.

 

XO

 

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world